In the UK, the five-year ovarian cancer survival rate is just 46 per cent1. But if diagnosed at the earliest stage, up to 90 per cent of women with ovarian cancer would survive for five years or more2.
There is as yet no national screening programme for ovarian cancer, so it is vital that women develop better awareness of symptoms of ovarian cancer. At the moment, only 3 per cent of women in the UK are very confident at spotting a symptom of ovarian cancer3. Sadly, most women are diagnosed after the ovarian cancer has spread, making it more difficult and complex to treat.
What needs to change?
- There is an urgent need for a government-led, national ovarian cancer symptoms awareness programme. A campaign funded at this level, with advertising, will have the impact required to save significant lives.
- More women need to know that ovarian cancer exists, and that they need to take their symptoms seriously. We should never hear “But I’d never heard of ovarian cancer” again.
- GPs need to increase their awareness of ovarian cancer, and send women for diagnostic tests more quickly.
- All GPs across the UK need consistent and easy access to diagnostic tests.
Our campaign so far
- A Symptoms Diary app, an easy way for women to accurately record symptoms and communicate more effectively with their GP.
- Be Clear on Cancer: Target Ovarian Cancer has campaigned strongly for ovarian cancer to be included in the government’s Be Clear on Cancer programme.
- National ovarian cancer awareness campaigns: In Scotland, the Scottish Executive has already confirmed that ovarian cancer will be included in the Detect Cancer Early programme; in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency is currently undertaking a research programme around cancer awareness and early diagnosis before launching a cancer awareness campaign in late 2014.
- Online learning for GPs: We commissioned free online learning modules that will radically alter GPs’ understanding of ovarian cancer symptoms. Over 30 per cent of GPs have already completed the modules.
- Access to diagnostic tests: Our campaigning has led to a change in national policy and a major investment in transvaginal ultrasound equipment across England. Despite this, one in ten GPs has been refused access to tests in the last year4. We are continuing to work to change this.
Help us campaign and raise awareness
We rely on volunteers to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms with local and national communities:
- Ask your local community venue, GP or health centre to display posters, stickers and leaflets.
- Hand out copies of our symptoms awareness leaflet (also available in other languages) to your friends, family and contacts or download our symptoms poster to print off and display. Use our order form to order leaflets, stickers and posters.
- Ask your GP to complete one of our accredited online learning modules.
- Ask your MP to join the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ovarian Cancer.
- Share your story with us - it is the stories from people who have experienced ovarian cancer first hand that influence change, and that inspire women or family members in similar circumstances.
- Let us know that you’d like to help give talks to schools or local groups when we get invited. We’ll give you all the support you need. Contact us to get involved.
Share our video
We asked women with ovarian cancer to tell us about their experience of the symptoms. Please share it to help us spread the word.
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